Choose love today.

This isn’t something I would typically share on my learning blog, but I stood in the shower this morning and saw a beautiful lesson in it all that I knew I had to sit down and write.  Perhaps it is part of my grieving process.  There were two deaths in my family this week.  I share this with you not for sympathy.  I am not grieving in the way that you may think.  I am sharing this with you to honor their lives and acknowledge the beautiful meaning that exists in what can seem meaningless at times.  I am celebrating who they were and their impact on who I am.  They were both step-grandparents of mine.  They arrived in my life during what was a difficult time in my childhood.  Through it all, my brothers and I were blessed with two more loving families and countless other role models.  Like all of our grandparents.

Both grandparents who passed in the last week embodied values that I take with me in everything I do.  Each imparted something great on their children (my stepparents) and thus me and this world.  And what they had in them, each of us has inside.  We are all given the same gifts.

When someone in your life shines, recognize that they are there to show you that light within yourself.

My step-father’s mother passed away late last week.  She was an entrepreneur, a hard worker, and endlessly giving to her church and her family.  Sometimes I get caught up in thinking that I work too hard, or I give too much.  She worked for the joy of working.  If she gave thought to “doing too much”, you would never know it.  From sewing her children’s clothes, to partnering in her successful family business, to volunteering at the church, she gave.  I remember learning how to bake cookies in The Church of The Annunciation basement before the Greek festival.  All of those women, working their days away, and giving it all to God through their church.  Those qualities I see in my stepfather.  A work ethic and a sense of duty that is inspirational.  I was in the middle of teaching a workshop when I got the news that she had passed.  I knew that there were a room full of people who had traveled the world to learn with me and they deserved nothing less than 100%.  So I gently laid the news aside until I could process it.  I smile back on that moment, realizing it is probably just what YiaYia would have done. YiaYia showed the world how to work hard from a place of joy and never stop giving.

Yesterday we received more sad news.  My stepmother’s father also passed away.  Grampa was strong, loving, and spirited.  In his last few years of life, he devoted himself tirelessly to caring for his wife who suffered from Alzheimer’s. His love was unconditional.  She passed away a few months ago and although he was never the same, he still had a faint sparkle in his eyes when he smiled.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew that smile was from a place of understanding everything that really matters in this world.  I remember visiting their house throughout my childhood and the feeling that everyone was welcome in their big family.  They made us feel that there were no differences among us, yet we were all special.  They passed that unconditional love down to my stepmother.  She has taught me so much about caring for others with a love that asks for nothing in return.

I was standing in the shower, thinking about both great losses, feeling sadness for my family grieving two deaths in the same week, and it dawned on me how simple the message in it all is.  Both grandparents embodied that answer.

Every single moment in life comes down to a choice in how we see the world.  Do we choose to see love, joy, and abundance in everything around us and every task we do?  Or do we choose to see otherwise?

I can teach you to make all the money in the world with your business, but you will never be happy unless you have built it from a place of joy and love in all you do.  When you create a livelihood from a place of fear, lack, judgement, competition and individualism, you will see those qualities reflected in every dollar you make.  When you show up to work each day with a passion and love for every task, you will see joy that makes every other goal meaningless.  The choice is yours to make in every moment.  You can always choose again.

Choose love today.

Your friend,